If you’re a fan of “Dungeons & Dragons” 5th edition, you probably won’t like this article much. Just saying.
For the rest of you, this will likely be a bit of “Preaching to the Choir”, but it is something I feel needs to be said: In short, D&D is a bad example of Tabletop Rolelaying Game design, and we as a community should stop supporting it.
Yes, it might be the biggest TTRPG on the market right now, and (as part of the lineage that is Dungeons & Dragons) is the latest in a line of (mostly) extremely popular games for the last 40+ years. But here’s the thing: Popular games does not mean they are good games. Same with well-known games. D&D is both popular and very well-known, but it is also a poorly designed game.
For decades we have been settling for D&D, because it is what everyone knows, and everyone plays… but just like any relationship, settling for what is right there in front of you is almost always the worst choice to make.
Just like there are “Always more fish in the sea” to choose from in a relationship, the same applies to your choice of TTRPGs to play. In fact, there are so many options other than D&D to play, which are infinitely superior to that game, it practically boggles the mind!
… and yet, the majority of people playing tabletop roleplaying games, stick with D&D…
- Because it is familiar.
- Because it is easy to find players/dungeon-masters for.
- Because it is everywhere.
That is frankly sad, in all honesty. While there is fun to be had in D&D, to be sure, one can have a lot more fun playing damn near any other tabletop roleplaying game. I’m not saying D&D is the worst, only that it is nowhere near the best, and is simply the recipient of decades of positive advertising in all manner of media, to the point where many think D&D is the only TTRPG there is.
People who are settling for D&D are doing themselves a great disservice, and really need to expand their RP horizons. I could make any number of suggestions here, but the list of available options is way too long, and would frankly deprive you of enjoying the search yourself. Just look on Drive-Thru RPG, and you will find literally thousands of other games to try out. Many are based on “5e”, which is to say the D&D 5th edition SRD (Standard Resource Document). You can disregard these as fruit of the poison tree, so to speak.
What you can look at are games using the FATE system, or the Apocalypse Engine (“Powered by the Apocalypse”, “Forged in the Dark”, and “Becoming Outside Becoming” games), and of course those using the Savage Worlds system. All of these options, of which there are dozens upon dozens of choices, are far superior to anything in the “Dungeons & Dragons” line.
And that only includes games using those systems. There are thousands more that use their own, unique engines, many of which are better than D&D!
My point here is this: It’s Valentine’s Day, which is a holiday known mostly for romance, but also known for settling for just a warm body to hold, when one has no other romantic choices. “Dungeons & Dragons” works much the same way as Valentine’s Day, actually. People play it because it is there, and it is easier to jump into than finding something better.
Stop settling for D&D.